Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2 . Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3. Little Brown Stoneflies
4. Quill Gordons
5. Blue Quills
6. Little Black Caddis
9. Hendricksons and the Red Quills
Basics of Fly Fishing - More On Casting and Presentations
I probably got off the basics a little when I got into making the curve cast but you
should be able to pull it off with a little practice. The main point I wanted to make is
that straight-line cast across pocket water that's typical of the Smokies don't work
very well. That usually means your fly will not be presented in a drag-free manner.
In summary, just remember that the fly should look natural to the fish during the drift
and not drag across the water. Unless your fly is drifting downstream on or in a
stretch of water with your fly line drifting in water of the same speed and direction,
you cannot get a drag-free drift.
Remember that the easiest way to get the drag-free drift is to keep most all of your
fly line above the water, with basically just your leader and tippet drifting on or in the
water. In most situations, this means a very short drift and certainly a very short
cast. When this cannot be accomplished (without getting too close and spooking the
trout) you must use some type of slack-line presentation whereas the fly line cannot
drag the fly.
I keep saying "on or in the water" because getting a drag-free drift is just as
important with a fly below the surface (wet fly or nymph) as it is a dry fly on the
surface. It isn't natural for a nymph to be drifting downstream faster or slower than
the current. Neither is it natural for it to be drifting in a different direction than the
current. The trout will recognize the difference and become aware that something
isn't natural. They will either reject your fly as the real thing, and in some cases,
even become spooked by the unnatural drift.
Where you want your fly to drift
Insects drifting downstream under or on top of the water, drift in the current seams.
A current seam is caused by water moving at different speeds and sometimes both
different speeds and directions. There's usually a slow and a fast current side to the
seam. Insects will be carried by the currents directly to the current seams.
The best and easiest way I know to determine where the insects are drifting is by
looking at the air bubbles that are present on the surface of the pocket water. They
are similar to the helpless insects, meaning their position on the water is solely
determined by the currents. You want your fly to drift in the same areas of the
stream that the bubbles are drifting.
Bubbles are not always present but you can also see the current seams if you look
closely at the water ahead of you. It's best to present your fly as near s seam as you
can, but since this may mean that your leader and fly line may cross currents of
different speeds, it's best to have some slack line in the leader and/or fly line.
Other types of presentations
Also keep in mind that all the presentations I have covered so far involved short
cast make in an upstream direction in the faster pocket water that's so common in
the streams of the Smokies. You will also need to learn to make some other types of
cast to handle the different current situations. Other types of presentations are
sometimes necessary to imitate the behavior of different insects and other foods the
trout feed on. An example of this is that you should learn to make a down and
across stream presentation to imitate a caddisfly pupa rising to the surface to hatch.
By the way, this is something 90 percent of the anglers fishing the Smokies don't
have a clue about but should.
There's plenty of cases you may encounter where a simple roll cast works best. An
example of such a situations is where you cannot make a backcast without hanging
your fly on something. There's also plenty of situations where it will be necessary to
mend your fly line. We will get into that tomorrow.
2011 James Marsh